You’d think that, after nearly eight years of baking and blogging at Hummingbird High, I’d have a better sense of which recipes will take off on the internet. Because a few weeks ago, when I posted this photo of these s’mores chocolate chip cookies on Instagram, I literally had no intention of even posting the recipe on my site—they were something I’d whipped up on a whim, as a way to procrastinate from awful book deadlines and to use both the cookie dough in my freezer and the bag of gourmet marshmallow squares I’d spontaneously bought at Target. But lo and behold, many of you demanded the recipe, and here it FINALLY is.
Now, because I feel your insane thirst for this cookie, I’m going to skip all the filler details us food bloggers usually tend to ramble on about, like the origin of s’mores, my undying love for chocolate chip cookies, or maudlin, gushing descriptions like how, when fresh out of the oven, these cookies taste like the love child of your favorite chocolate chip cookie and the best s’mores you ever made with your best friend in middle school while at summer camp together. Instead, I’m gonna give you all my best tips and tricks for making these beauties:
The first is this: use brown butter for the chocolate chip cookie base. In a pinch, regular melted butter is fine too (in fact, the first version I made with regular melted butter was plenty tasty), but brown butter always gives everything a nutty, toasted flavor that works especially well in these s’mores chocolate chip cookies. It’s worth the extra step.
The second: graham crackers are a must. I’ll admit, I made a few versions that used speculoos cookies as a substitute for graham crackers. They were also delicious, but graham crackers really are what make s’mores s’mores. In my earlier trials, I rolled each cookie dough ball in cracker crumbs, but found that I liked it much better with actual shards of graham cracker in the dough itself. The trick is to not think about it too much and break the graham crackers by hand into fairly large, random, and uneven pieces. Throw it all into the mixer all at once—the beater will crush some of the graham crackers into fine crumbs, while keeping other pieces in bigger shards, giving each bite of cookie lots of different graham cracker textures with every bite.
And finally, both the chocolate and the marshmallows you use are very, VERY important. Like a 7 on the INES scale important (Did anybody get that VERY dark reference? Sorry, I binge watched Chernobyl recently and it’s still on my mind). Although s’mores are typically made with Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars, do NOT use them in these cookies. I tried. It didn’t work. Hershey’s chocolate bars contain too many additives to melt properly in the oven. Ditto with chocolate chips—I’ve already ranted about how cheap chocolate chips contain paraffin wax (yup, the same stuff candles are made out of—it’s what helps them keep their shape in the oven). You want to shell out for the good chocolate here, whether it’s Valrhona feves or your favorite expensive pretentious dark chocolate bar, chopped up by hand. Good chocolate will melt into puddles throughout the cookie, emulating the way chocolate melts in a classic s’more. If you’re on a budget and/or don’t want to order feves online, use Trader Joes’ Pound Plus 72% cacao chocolate bars (it’s made by Callebaut, a rival of Valrhona’s who makes equally high-quality chocolate) or Ghirrardelli’s 60% cacao bittersweet baking bars.
With marshmallows, you can get away with using the classic Kraft Jet-Puffed kind you know and love from your childhood. Just be sure to get the large kind—although smaller or mini marshmallows will work in a pinch, to get the EXACT look of my cookies, you need a big marshmallow to melt into a huge, gooey, glorious puddle. I used this fancy kind from Smashmallow, which I literally bought only because I liked their square shape (though apparently Jet-Puffed makes square ones too, even ones that stack!). The best part is that the Smashmallow Toasted Vanilla flavor literally comes pre-torched, which means that they’ve already got the Maillard reaction kickstarted in them. Not to mention they bake up beautifully too, giving the puddles a kind of ombre look. If you want that look for your cookies but can’t find Smashmallows, use a chef’s torch to gently and quickly lightly brown the tops of the marshmallows you’re planning on using. Don’t have a chef’s torch? No problem—toasting them on the stovetop like you would over a campfire works just as well.
Okay, that is literally everything you could possibly need to make these cookies (also be sure to check out the baker’s note below, because it’s important). So go forth and enjoy. You know I got ya back.
- When placing the marshmallow on top of each cookie dough ball, lightly place each one on top of its ball; it doesn’t really stick since the cookie dough is too greasy. You can quickly pat the top of each dough ball too to make a plateau on which to rest the marshmallow on. Either way, know this—some of the marshmallows are going to fall off the cookies as they sink and expand in the oven. It’s fine if they end up a little lopsided (it’s what makes the cookies pretty!), but it’s definitely a problem if they fall off completely: they’ll melt into a puddle on the pan, and not on your cookie (and I will be very sad for you). I recommend peeking in the oven about 3 minutes into the baking time to see if any marshmallows have fallen off. If they have, don’t worry about it too much! Quickly open the oven door, reach in there, and re-position it back onto its cookie dough ball. At this point, the marshmallow is still solid enough to handle, but don’t squish too hard—it should already be getting a little melty. Peek into the oven again 6 minutes into the baking time and make any adjustments as necessary. You got this.
S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookies
- ½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1⅔ cup (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup tightly packed (5.65 ounces) dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup (1.75 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 6 ounces dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), from whole Valrhona fèves or a high quality chocolate bar, chopped into ½ to 1-inch pieces
- 2 ounces graham crackers (from around 2½ sheets), hand broken into ½- to 1-inch pieces
- 18 large marshmallows, preferably Smashmallow Toasted Vanilla marshmallows
- In a light-colored saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until it starts to foam. Use a heatproof rubber spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan occasionally to prevent the milk solids in the butter from burning. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the butter smells nutty and is amber with dark flecks at the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a liquid measuring cup. Set it on a wire rack to cool while you prep the other ingredients.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two half sheet pans with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugars.
- Once the butter has melted completely, pour it over the sugar in the mixer bowl and beat on low until just combined. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl once more, and beat on low for an additional 30 seconds. Increase the mixer to medium-low, add the chocolate and graham crackers all at once, and beat until both is evenly distributed throughout, about 1 minute.
- Use a 3-tablespoon cookie dough scoop to portion the cookie dough into balls, placing them at least 3 inches apart on the prepared sheet pans. Lightly place a marshmallow directly on top of the center of each cookie dough ball.
- Bake one pan at a time for 10 minutes, or until the edges have set but the centers are still gooey. The cookies will look puffed when you pull them out of the oven, but will fall and crack into the perfect cookies as they cool. Cool the cookies on the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, or until the edges and bottoms of the cookies have set and feel firm to the touch. Repeat with the remaining cookie dough. Before serving, use a stiff metal spatula and run it underneath the bottom of each cookie to unstick any melted marshmallow. Serve warm or at room temperature. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container or zip-top bag at room temperature for up to 3 days.